Skip to main content

How to Comfort Others (Part 2)




Did you miss part one of this blog series? Check it out here. 

Today we're talking about things NOT to do if you want to comfort someone who is hurting. 

DON'T...

Let the fear of saying the wrong thing lead to you saying nothing. 
Push past your own anxiety, and reach out. Learn what to say. 

Share clichés or pat answers like, “it all works out for the best” or “just turn it over to the Lord…”

Mimimize the loss, compare the loss, or share why YOU feel they were or are blessed by the loss.

For instance, when my husband and I lost our first child to a miscarriage, it was a horribly painful time. It was then that I learned just how much people lack wisdom on how to comfort people. As I was standing at the altar crying after the miscarriage, an older woman approached me and put an arm around me and said, "Pastor Deanna, I feel the Lord wants me to tell you it was for the best that you had the miscarriage. With the unhealthy direction your pregnancy was going, the baby probably would have been retarded anyway." 

Yes, I am serious.  That really happened.

First of all, what a horrible thing to say. Second, it just made me extremely angry and didn't help AT ALL.

Then a few weeks later another "older and wiser" lady approached me and said, "Don't be sad! You're young. You'll have more kids!" Hmmmmm. My question to her was, "So, if another young woman had a two year old that died would you say, "Oh, don't be sad. You're young...you'll have more kids?"

Grrrrrrrrrrr.

Larry and I have always keenly felt the loss of our first, although we went on to have three more. And, it took me about a year to move beyond the loss.

Pepper them with platitudes like, “It’s okay, he’s with Jesus now”  if a friend/family member has died.
Chances are your friend or family member probably doesn't WANT the other person to be with Jesus. They are grieving because they miss them. They may be angry that the person is with Jesus. People are not just processing where their loved one is -- but the fact that they miss them terribly and will not see them again here on earth.

Make theologically ridiculous statements.
Things like, "God took him/her because He needed another angel..."

Be Dimissive
"Well your grandmother was 93. Of course she was going to die…”

One again, it's not just about the person who is gone, it’s about those left behind and how they feel.

Minimizing someone else’s loss is NEVER positive!


Tell the person they have to be strong, or tell them not to cry. 
Giving them a safe place to express their pain is really important.

Put Them On a Timetable
People move forward at a different pace.

Avoid saying things like: “Shouldn’t you be over this by now?" 

“Your boyfriend broke up with you six months ago? Aren’t you dwelling on this for too long?”


Again, dismissing someone’s loss - never positive.


Tell them, “God won’t give you more than you can bear.” 
Not only is this just another Christian cliche, but quite honestly you have no idea the magnitude of the load they are bearing. They may be at a dangerous place emotionally or mentally where they can't bear any more without professional help. Be a compassionate, non-judgmental voice. If they say they can bear no more, help them get professional assistance to bear up under the weight of their circumstance.

Tomorrow in part 3 I'll be sharing a  list of things TO do.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Relevant Church doing something...

incredibly RELEVANT!

I just heard some news today that really inspired me. A church here in Tampa, Relevant Church is doing a new thing this month called the "30 Days Sex Challenge." (I've never visited the church but Pastor Trinity - our children's pastor - has visited or has met some people from this church and he was very impressed.) Realizing that this is a major element missing from some marriages (the frequency factor) their lead pastor, Paul Wirth, has issued a challenge for all the married couples to have sex for 30 days in a row. At the same time he has issued a challenge for all unmarrieds to completely abstain from sex. Of course we know the Bible says that those who are unmarried should not have sex in the first place but the point is, a lot of unmarried's aren't obeying the Lord's command to abstain and this is just one pastor's way of trying to get them to see that indeed, there is a better way! (God's way!) At the same time, many married couples are no

This Could Have Ruined Everything... (But It Didn't!)

 No one would ever guess what happened to me this weekend in Jacksonville, Florida...so I'm going to tell you. :) As I was preaching at the Fearless Tour at New Hope Assembly of God this weekend,  I got choked up, literally. For probably 2-3 minutes I coughed profusely and greatly struggled. Then I drank some water and kept preaching. Everyone was gracious to give me a few moments to get my bearings. If you were there, you'll remember it! What no one realized at the time was that I swallowed a bug that flew right in while I was preaching! So disgusting! I said nothing because I was at a point in the sermon where I was really connecting and I knew if I said, "I swallowed a bug," everyone would either laugh profusely or be really concerned, or start feeling sorry for me.  And at that point whey wouldn't be thinking about the message anymore, but the fact that I had just swallowed a bug. They would then imagine what it would be like, and feel grossed out which

What Verbal Abuse is Really Like, and Why We Must Care
Guest Post: Terri von Wood

In my speaking travels, I meet the most amazing people. Some are connections that go beyond just a night or a weekend of preac hing. One day on my journey, I met Terri von Wood, and we immediately clicked and have been friends ever since.  Just a reminder that all of our guest bloggers this week are available to chat with you in the comment section here on the blog or on my facebook page where the blog is also published.   *** People who have never suffered through or witnessed abuse (including pastors) often don't know how to help women in abusive situations. Knowledge is power and it is my belief that if the church understood the prevalence of abuse, help would be made available.  First, we must acknowledge that the divorce rate is the same  in the church as in the world.  Second, we must understand that the 50% divorce rate does not include all the women who are abused but stay because they do not know what else to do or do not have anyone to turn to.  If those women we